Incumbent Bayonne Mayor Jim Davis’s fundraising and campaign spending totals have fallen behind that of his main challenger, former Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell, but with their respective committees taken into account, the two candidates are on close-to-equal footing.
Since his last filing on Jan. 15, O’Donnell has raised $79,198, bringing his total raised this cycle to $166,298, while Davis brought in $37,130. O’Donnell has also been spending more aggressively than the freshman mayor. His Election Law Enforcement Commission filings say he’s spent $105,937 since his last filing, while Davis spent a comparatively meager $39,023.
But when fundraising to the candidates’ joint committees, which are made up of the mayoral candidates and the City Council candidates on their slates, is taken into account, the gap between the two shrinks.
O’Donnell’s joint committee, pulled in $136,975, bringing its total to raised to $148,775. The bulk of the new funds came from two $41,000 donations given by labor groups, namely the Operating Engineers Local 825 and
the New Jersey State Laborer’s PAC.
The committee spent $84,986 during the filing period, with the lion’s share, $54,000, going to unspecified consulting services provided by KNS Strategies.
The numbers for Team Davis 2018, Davis’s joint committee, were a little higher. The committee raked in $202,310 in its first-ever filing. Much of the $157,309 the committee spent that period went to consulting firms, with $74,027, almost half of the money spent, going to Vision Media for consulting services.
The filings, sent to ELEC last week, show diverging spending strategies between the race’s two main candidates as the closing weeks of the campaign approach.
O’Donnell spent much of his money on consulting during the period, paying a total of $41,941 – more than Davis spent in the entire period – to three consulting firms. He also paid $16,200 to a New-York-based polling firm.
One thing noticeably absent from his filings is spending on advertisements. Unlike Davis, who spent $5,440 on newspaper and journal ads, as well as sponsored columns in The Hudson Reporter, O’Donnell does not appear to have spent any money on advertisements.
But Sean Darcy, a spokesperson for O’Donnell’s campaign said that the campaign was already running digital adds. It simply has not been billed for them, Darcy said.
“Obviously, we’re doing a lot of Facebook ads,” Darcy said. “Once we get closer to election day, like that last week, last two weeks, I’m sure we’ll do some advertising in the local papers, you know, make sure that we’re speaking directly to voters trying to get our message out to them.”
Meanwhile, Davis’s campaign launched a cable ad campaign just after the filing deadline, and Davis spokesman Phil Swibinski said the campaign plans to move advertisements along several other platforms as election day approaches.
“We expect to have a very robust communication footprint over final weeks. We’ll certainly be doing more mail, certainly be heavy on TV and digital,” Swibinski said. “We definitely have the resources necessary to get over the finish line.”
The candidates enter the final weeks of the race with similarly-sized war chests. Davis and his committee have a combined $94,570 on hand, while O’Donnell and his slate have a slightly-higher $117,270.
The third candidate, a physician and attorney named Mitchell Brown, who is running as an independent, took in $14,815 in the filing period, the bulk of which came from a $10,000 loan Brown gave his campaign. He enters the final weeks of the race with $9,861 on hand.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include joint fundraising accounts.